Country: United States
Date: Fall 2010
Do hydrophilic dyes exist? For example, if one were to try
to dye a phospholipid bilayer, can it be done?
Food coloring dyes are all water soluble, hence very hydrophilic. I
don't know whether they will accomplish what you want to do, however.
There are lots of hydrophilic dyes, and there are lots of stains
designed for cell-membrane visualization. Here's one example from
If you read the document, it discussed what makes an idea cell
membrane stain. If you want to visualize the cell membrane, I'm not
sure you would want a hydrophilic dye. The lipid bilayer, as you may
know, is hydrophobic internally, and hydrophilic externally. To stain
it, you can attach a dye to its surface (binding to proteins or sugars
on the surface), or you can use a dye that has both hydrophobic and
hydrophilic components (such as the referenced invitrogen stain).
Hope this helps,
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